LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – The loss of revenue in the Lafayette Parish Budget has prompted concerns of layoffs and cuts. Lafayette Consolidated Mayor-President Joel Robideaux says there may be another way to deal with the anticipated shortfall. Robideaux was the guest speaker at the Lafayette Workforce Development Board meeting on Tuesday.
Robideaux says the parish budget is projected to be somewhere around $3 million short. Robdieaux tells the board that layoffs and cuts for the parish are being considered but not before other options are explored. “The mission right now is to figure out a way to minimize those cuts and at the same time provide the services that the parish government needs to be providing,” adds Robideaux.
Robideaux says the best opportunity for the parish will come from property taxes. He explains that 2017 is an assessment year – meaning property values will increase – along with that, the taxes people pay. The parish’s shortfall mainly comes from the decline in sales taxes. “I would suspect the increase in property taxes in the unincorporated portions of the parish is going to be available to offset some of the sales decline,” notes Robideaux.
Robideaux believes property taxes could also offset the need to make deep cuts throughout the parish. He anticipates that the city budget will incur a 3% percent drop in revenue – a decline Robideaux calls manageable. Robideaux says the parish is just the opposite. “There isn’t a whole lot of fat in the parish budget. It’s a pretty lean budget. The reality is there’s going to need to be something that’s done,” adds Robideaux.
The mayor-president says that something may include making a change to the millages and where those dollars go within the parish. Changes like that would require voters’ approval. “It’s a matter of us figuring out a good path forward that voters can agree to and put it before them. That wouldn’t solve the problem but it certainly would make it a much more manageable situation,” explains Robideaux.